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Starting this workout is one of the most important investments you can make in yourself. You're beginning this journey to get a better body, but guess what? Along the way, you'll discover that becoming fitter pays incredible health dividends. With your physician's approval to exercise, physical activity has enormous benefits in addition to losing weight or shaping up:

1. People who exercise live longer, on average, than people who don't.

2. Active people have a lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and they're less likely to get high blood pressure.

3. The more active you are, the lower your risk of colon cancer.

4. The less active you are, the higher your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, exercise can lower your blood sugar levels.

5. In people with arthritis, moderate exercise helps reduce joint swelling and pain and improves mobility.

6. Strength-building exercise helps counter bone loss (osteoporosis).

7. Exercise makes you functionally fit, meaning that it's easier for you to carry groceries, do chores, and independently perform many other activities of daily life.

Adrian Kortesmaki's Exercsselip

The first time I went running

1 couldn't do more than

2 minutes, so I alternated running, skipping, and walking. Within 2 months, I was running a mile in under 10 minutes.

8. Because ot the calming effect of exercise, active people are less depressed, and depressed people often feel better after they start exercising.

9. Exercise can save you money. If you can prevent serious—and costly—medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, you will have more money for your other needs.

10. Exercise can be fun! Many of the activities you did for play as a child count as exercise. Dancing fast, walking your dog, bicycling, and gardening all strengthen your heart and lungs.

Sound awesome? Then you're all set. Take these steps to get underway:

Step Hind Your Fitness Level

When you begin a new fitness program, it is often confusing to determine how much exercise you need to do and how hard you should work out. Don't worry—we'll help you figure it out. What's so empowering about the Biggest Loser fitness program is that it accommodates all levels of fitness and conditioning. Week by week, this progressive program advances with you, affecting positive changes in your appearance, the way you feel, and your health. So that you know exactly where to start the workout, take the assessment

Find an exercise partner. Bob Haroer run a few hundred feet butT ^ventua% i got to a mile, but I was not a strong runner. Later d run with Seth, a friend on the '

men s team. He would push A

me by saying, "Don't hold

say back, "Okay, erank it up then." I still don't Jove running, but

"I'm with somebody else, at least we can have fun.

below to see whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced exerciser. Determining your level will help you do exactly the right amount of exercise—and begin the process of creating a whole new body. So grab a pen or pencil, read through the questions, and check the answers that best describe you.

1. Describe the frequency with which you exercise:

A. The last time I exercised was last year, or 6 months ago; or 1 can't remember the last time I exercised.

B. I've been exercising for a couple of months, on average of 3 times a week.

C. I've been exercising regularly for 6 months or longer, several times a week.

2. How much endurance (aerobic) exercise do you do?

A. I don't do any aerobic exercise.

B. I exercise aerohicallv 30 to 90 minutes a week.

C. I exercise aerobically more than 90 minutes a week.

3. How much strength training do you do?

A. I've never done any strength training.

B. I have done some strength training, hut only sporadically.

• C. I've been strength training regularly for 3 months or longer.

4. How would you rate your flexibility?

A. I don't think I'm very flexible since I rarely stretch.

B. I occasionally stretch, bur it's not something I do regularly.

C. I make it a habit to stretch and/or I regularly attend yoga or Pilates classes.

5. What benefits have you experienced from exercising?

A. I don't think I've exercised enough, or consistently, in the past to get results.

B. When I do exercise, I know I feel better, and I know it's good for me.

C. Exercise has helped me lose weight and/ or control my weight, feel more energetic, and feel better about myself.

Scoring: Look back over your answers. If you answered mostly A to the questions, you're at the beginner level; mostly B, the intermediate level; and mostly C, the advanced level. Here are key guidelines for each level.

Jerry Lisenby's Exercise Tip

Proper form is a must! Keep your feet planted to the floor at ah times. Each rep should be done properly

Beginner Level

Beginners will perform a circuit routine only once per session. This means you'll do one set of each exercise and immediately move to the next exercise with only 5 to 8 seconds between exercises. After 2 weeks, you will begin performing a circuit twice. This means you'll do one set of each exercise, immediately move on to the next, and so forth, until you've performed all the exercises in sequence. Then you'll start over, thus completing two circuits.

When you feel stronger on a particular exercise or want more challenge, try the advanced version of the exercise in question.

with their advanced exercises, will kick your program up and help you make new fitness breakthroughs. Give it all you've got, step up to the plate, and really push through it. In the end, you'll take your fitness—and your body—to a whole new super-fit level.

Intermediate Level

Intermediate exercisers will perform a circuit routine twice. For example, do one set of each exercise, immediately move on to the next, and so forth, until you've performed all the exercises in sequence. Then you'll start over, thus completing two circuits.

After 2 weeks, or when you feel stronger, perform a circuit three times.

When you feel stronger on a particular exercise or want more challenge, try the advanced version of the exercise in question.

Advanced Level

Advanced exercisers will perform a circuit three times.

Opt for the advanced version of each exercise when you work out. Sometimes even the most advanced exercisers hit a plateau and don't experience the progress they want. The routines,

You'll want to wear sturdy, well-fitting athletic shoes and clothing that breathes and allows you to move freely. Wear a heart rate monitor and have a watch with a second hand so that you keep your rest periods between sets short. The basic exercise equipment you'll need includes pairs of dumbbells that increase incrementally in weight; resistance tubing; a stability ball; and ankle weights. Optional is an Xerdisc. If you want to save money, consider buying used equipment, as long as it is in good shape. For dumbbells, you can get creative by filling milk jugs with water or sand, or using heavy books as weights.

Nicole Michalik's Exercise Tip

Bring music! It keeps you going, especially high tempo music, and always listen to Bob!

Step 3: Select from One of Three Routines

So that you won't stagnate or ever get bored, we've supplied three different circuit training workouts. You can do one for a month, switch to another the next month, then try the third workout in your third month. This versatility in workouts is great for breaking plateaus. Kim Lyons advises: "A plateau means your body is getting used to the exercise you've been doing, so shake up your routine by changing it. Doing so can reignite weight loss."

With three workouts, this program will vary what you've been doing in the past, plus give you extra challenges, so that you remain excited about it forever!

Step 4: Start Moving

Now you're ready to start moving. Some tips to help you:

• If possible, exercise in front of a mirror to track and maintain proper alignment and form.

• Stay present in the moment when you are lifting a weight or doing an exercise, and connect to your body. Be in touch with your breathing and aware of how your body feels.

• All levels—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—should gradually progress to heavier resistances. This maximizes the F.POC effect—

the length of time your metabolic rate stays elevated following your exercise routine. Norwegian scientists found that the heavier the training, the longer and stronger the rise in metabolic rate after the workout. In their study, subjects who lifted heavy weights experienced an increase of 18 percent in metabolic rate 1 day after their workout and 11 percent 2 days afterward, compared to those who lifted lighter weights (an increase of 13 percent the next day, and 4 percent 2 days later). So to drop the most fat in the least amount of time, strive to use heavier weights when you train.

• Listen to your body signals. Pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or nausea are signals that you should stop and take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard.

• Be sure to warm up and cool down properly. This workout can be more intense than traditional training because of its simultaneous demands on the upper and lower body, as well as the cardiovascular system. The warmup and cooldown prepare your body for these demands.

• When performing an exercise, choose a weight or resistance that allows you to perform only the specified range of repetitions. If the exercise is too easy, progressively increase the weights or try the advanced version of the exercise.

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Lessons You Can Learn From Fitness Classes

Lessons You Can Learn From Fitness Classes

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